Reviewed: October, 2020
Released: 2020, OMN Label Services
Listen to opening track “I Salute You” from Brother Firetribe’s fifth LP FEEL THE BURN, you would be justified in believing that you were hearing a song from the soundtrack to the 1986 film Iron Eagle. The truth is, Brother Firetribe is often known as a side band for Nightwish guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, who actually has now left the band and has been replaced by Roope Riihijärvi. These Finnish rockers released their first album in 2006, swiftly establishing themselves as a force in the AOR/lite metal style that includes bands like Harem Scarem, Eclipse, House of Lords, and others. FEEL THE BURN was released September 18, on OMN Label Services.
FEEL THE BURN is an album that does not stray from the Tribe’s earlier material. Strong melodies, 80s keyboards, and memorable choruses are the order of the day, all delivered in a slick and highly produced mix. Heft has never been employed by Brother Firetribe, and so calling this metal would be a fanciful stretch. There is appeal here though for anyone that liked those feel good 80s underdog movies and their accompanying soundtracks. “Bring On The Rain” has an unmistakable 80s AOR thump, with a video that recalls the days of the drive-in movie theater, which is making a comeback during the pandemic! “Chariot Of Fire” is the only laughable track, the whole premise making it difficult to listen to with a straight face. It is the epitome of cheese.
Lest you think I am bent on pillorying the Tribe, I actually enjoy much of this flawed, guilty pleasure. The guys have nailed this sound and at a time when the word is falling to pieces, they are intent on delivering upbeat and positive music. I am honestly surprised that they have not been approached to provide songs for any of the new Rocky movies or other remakes, but there are still plenty of 80s movies available for a rehash. A few more guitars with crunch would have helped matters, and most of the songs are so saturated with keyboards it is often hard to really appreciate how good these guys are. Emphatically not for fans of brutality, Brother Firetribe have a small niche appeal for fans of Shakra, W.E.T., Eclipse and others.